St. Bridget's Church

Askersund, Sweden

The church of Olshammar is named after Saint Bridget of Sweden (Birgitta), whose husband, Ulf Gudmarsson, owned Olshammar in the 1320s. Olshammar was then a major estate and brickworks. According to tradition, Birgitta built a chapel where today the church is situated. The church was built in 1620 by Eric Hand, a grandchild of king Erik XIV.

The glass paintings in the form of coat of arms and manufactured in Riga, depicts Eric Hand and his brother-in-arms during the Thirty Years' War. These paintings are very well kept.

The church was restored in 1785 by a German mill owner, Carl von Wahrendorff. The church then got its present look with alter and pulpit built into one unit. This is very unusual in Swedish churches. Wahrendorff furnished the church with several fine ornaments, three grisaille paintings by the Dutch painter Jacob de Wit, a silver chandelier, silver for the Holy Communion etc. Carl von Wahrendorff was a prominent mill owner and did a lot of good for the community, some of which is still visible.

In the beginning of the 19th century Carl Rüttersköld became owner of Olshammar. He was Verner von Heidenstam's grandfather. The church belonged to the estate and when Verner von Heidenstam during the summers stayed at the estate, he used the church as his playground. He made up his own fairyland "Lajsputta" and carved "the centre of the earth" into a brick in front of the alter rails.

The church was built as a mill church and was privately owned until 1982. Today it belongs to the parish of Hammar. Regular church services are held once per month and at main Holidays.

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Details

Founded: 1620
Category: Religious sites in Sweden
Historical period: Swedish Empire (Sweden)

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www.olshammarsgarden.com

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